AURORA, Colo. (CBS4)– A baby girl, born with multiple heart defects, is thriving. In December, at just 5 months old, Eila Brown had a heart transplant at Children’s Hospital Colorado.
“She’s just the calmest, sweetest, little baby,” said Caiya Jackson, Eila’s mother.
Eila has bright brown eyes, a beautiful smile and a long scar on her chest that tells her story.
“She is literally just a little miracle, a little blessing,” Caiya told Health Specialist Kathy Walsh.
Twenty-two-year-old Caiya is from Wyoming. She was 20 weeks pregnant when she and her fiance, Morgan Brown, learned their baby’s heart had formed abnormally.
The baby was diagnosed with hypoplastic right ventricle, the right side of her heart was underdeveloped.
She also had atrioventricular valve regurgitation, a leaking heart valve allowing blood to flow backwards into the heart instead of pumping out. And she had heterotaxy, some of her organs were on the wrong side of her body.
“I was terrified,” Caiya said. “I had this like impending fear that she wasn’t going to make it.”
Eila was born July 8, 2020, at a Salt Lake City hospital. At 6 days old, she had open-heart surgery. Weeks later Eila went home but, within a month, suffered heart failure.
“She was having a really hard time breathing,” explained Caiya.
Knowing their baby’s heart couldn’t be fixed, in October, her parents chose Children’s Hospital Colorado for a heart transplant.
“Her heart was on the wrong side of her body and she had multiple defects,” said Dr. Melanie Everitt, Medical Director of Pediatric Heart Transplant at Children’s Colorado.
“A heart transplant is really the last resort,” said Dr. Everitt.
“All I kept doing consistently was praying for life,” said Caiya.
On Dec. 5, 2020, Eila received a donor heart.
“Out of that tragedy can come something really beautiful for another patient,” said Dr. Everitt.
“I’m so grateful,” said Caiya.
Eila’s been in her new Colorado home for a month.
“You would never know she’s been through so much,” said Dr. Everitt.
“She’s the most special and important little thing to me in the whole world,” said Caiya.
“There are miracles that happen here, every day,” said Dr. Everitt.
Eila’s family had to move from Wyoming to Colorado to be close to Children’s for Eila’s care.
There is a GoFundMe campaign to help with relocation and medical expenses.